The Lower School Newsletter for October 30, 2016

The next few weeks mean some change in routine here at NYA. After tomorrow’s Halloween festivities, students will have shortened weeks and longer weekends for the next two weeks in a row. There is no school this Thursday and Friday for Parent-Teacher Conferences and no school next Friday for Veterans’ Day. By this point in the year, students have settled nicely into the routine of the school day, and we will work together to maintain that consistent routine here at school. However, these days off provide time for parents and teachers to come together and for families to have some quality family time before the rush of the upcoming holidays.

Parent-Teacher Conferences provide an important opportunity for parents and teachers to connect and build a strong school-home partnership in support of each student. Our youngest students may not yet be able to vocalize fully what is going on in the classroom each day, and parents often yearn to see and hear what is happening at school. These meetings allow for such insights. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher to learn and share as much as you can.

Come in ready to ask questions about all aspects of your child’s involvement in the classroom: What areas and concepts seem to interest her most? What are some of her greatest strengths in the classroom? What areas are most challenging for her? How is his attention, ability to focus, perseverance, and effort? Is he able to follow directions independently? Does she appear to be meeting developmental milestones? Are there any areas of concern or potential concern that should be monitored or assessed? Does his mood appear to change consistently throughout the day or the week? Does he seem to enjoy his specials? Is there any activity which he finds especially pleasing? How does she do with snacks and lunch? Does she seem particularly tired or energetic at various times throughout the day? How does he interact with his peers? Does he appear comfortable with his classmates? What goals would you suggest for her?

At the same time, come in ready to share your insights on what you see, hear, and observe about your child in relation to the class, NYA, and her world in general. Share any strategies that have been helpful to your child and let teachers know your insights on what might work best for him. Ask what you can do to better support your child in her learning. Ask if there are things that you should not be doing. Approach these conferences as a team supporting one another and working toward the common goal of meeting the needs of your child.

We thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to come meet with us, and we look forward to collaborating with you.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Tomorrow is our Halloween celebration at NYA!  Toddlers will have a special pajama day. The rest of the students are encouraged to wear costumes as part of the celebration, but we ask that they stay in keeping with the dress code – nothing too scary, no weapons of any kind (swords, guns, light sabers, etc.), no masks, etc. For our Primary students, we also request that families try to stay away from commercial (movie or TV) characters. Animals (e.g. cat, dog, lion), careers (e.g. chef, doctor, firefighter), book characters, Halloween classics, and silly creations are all greathalloween-mk-26 choices. The Lower School Costume Parade will begin at 10:45 a.m. Elementary students will join with the Middle and Upper School students for a parade and costume contest in the gym at 2:00 p.m. While the younger students will not be attending as a class, parents of students in the Toddler and Primary programs are welcome to pick up their children early that day and join the festivities. This is a fun community event!


scales-and-tailsRepresentatives from the Chewonki foundation will be coming to NYA on Halloween to do several sessions on the characteristics, adaptations, and ecology of reptiles for the Lower School classes and the fifth grade. They will meet with student groups in the Middle School Community Room throughout the day for an interactive presentation and chance to meet the animals. This event is sure to add some thrills to our day!


Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for this Thursday, November 3 from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Friday, November 4 from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  There will be no school on these two days. The conferences will be scheduled on the half hour and will run for approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes. This is a chance for parents to speak in depth with the classroom teachers about the start of the year and setting goals for the months ahead. Detailed instructions on the sign-up process were sent out last week.  Please remember that sign-ups for conferences are on a first come, first served basis and that the sign-up system will close at the end of the day on Tuesday, November 1. Families seeking child care during their conference time slot must sign up at Ms. Jen’s desk by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1.


To help meet the needs of our families, we will offer the option of care from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on select days during our school vacations. This will be available to all Lower School students on a first-come, first-served basis, and will run only if a minimum number of students enroll. This coverage will be offered for the Monday-Wednesday before Thanksgiving, three days during Christmas week, three days during New Year’s week, two weeks at spring break, and one week at the end of school before summer programs begin. Rates for this care will be $400/week or $80/day.  If you anticipate utilizing this service for Thanksgiving week or any of the other time periods, please contact Leslie DurginThe deadline to sign up for the Thanksgiving week is Friday, November 4.


Every year, our NYA community supports the Preble Street Shelter by collecting donations of food canned-goods-picto stock their shelves for the upcoming holidays.  Seasonally, and especially with the early cold weather, they are in need of extra supplies to serve the individuals and families who rely on their help.  Between Monday, November 7 and Monday, November 14, families are invited to bring donations of the following items to the Lower School: Stuffing Mix; Rice; Pasta; Gravy; Canned Fruit and Vegetables; Coffee; Canned Soup; Canned Beans; and Cooking Oils.  In celebration of the spirit of giving, students may enjoy a Dress Down Day on Monday, November 14.  Thank you for your generosity!



Attention all bakers (and want-to-be-bakers) in the NYA community! Despite being the eve of Halloween, it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Here is an opportunity for NYA families to reach out and help out others who may be experiencing difficult times…in the form of a pumpkin pie (or 2 or 3)! Each year, The Root Cellar collects pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving meal baskets that go to families in need in the Greater Portland area. This is a tough time for many families and there is an increased need for food this year. For the past eleven years, our family has donated pies to the Root Cellar as part of the Cumberland/North Yarmouth Family Network. This year, we decided to extend an invitation to all NYA students and families to join in on this simple, yet fulfilling activity. Additional information on how to join this effort is available here. ~ Cathy Jakubowitch (Jack Kostelnik’17, Xander Kostelnik’19)


Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 16 at 2:30 p.m. for the Lower School Drama production of Willy Wonka KIDS in Safford Center (the cafeteria/auditorium). Willy Wonka KIDS is based on the Roald Dahl children’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with inspiration also coming from the 1971 movie starring the late Gene Wilder. The students have been hard at work putting this show together, with all elementary students as part of the ensemble, and students in the Drama Club (kindergarten through fourth grade) taking the lead roles. The show will last about 35 minutes and parents may pick up their children following the production. After Care will run as usual following the performance. We hope to see you there!



The NYA Annual Wreath + Poinsettia Sale is officially underway! Please support the NYA Parents’ Association and Project Graduation by ordering your holiday greenery from NYA.  Bring the completed Wreath and/or Poinsettia forms to Lower School Reception, Middle School Reception, or the Main Office. Need assistance?  Contact Katie Woods or Martha Barrett.  Order today!


The NYA Holiday Craft Fair is scheduled for Saturday, December 3 from 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. as part of Yarmouth’s Holiday in the Village. There will be numerous crafter tables in the gym and Safford center, delicious lunch items and snacks will be for sale, and holiday singers sponsored by the Drama Department will add to the festivities. Plan to spend Saturday, December 3 doing your holiday shopping at NYA!


On November 16, Jon Turk will give the first annual Kaffmann Lecture.  Jon is an author, scientist, and world-class expeditioner who has been a National Geographic “Explorer of the Year.”  He also has a PhD in Organic Chemistry and wrote the first environmental science textbook to be used in colleges, back in the 1970’s. Jon’s expeditions have included kayaking from Japan to Alaska, circumnavigating Ellesmere Island, paddling around Cape Horn, first ascents of big walls on Baffin Island, and first ski descents in Kyrgyzstan. He is the author of four books about his expeditions, in addition to the Environmental Science textbook.

Jon will be giving a presentation to the Upper School and Middle School during the day, and that evening, he will speak with the public at 7:00 in the Middle School Community Room

Here is an example of a Ted Talk by Jon about the evolution of the human brain.

Please join us on the 16th!

CALL FOR BOOKSbook-tree-ipod-2

The NYA Library is once again holding its Book Sale at this year’s Holiday Craft Fair, and we would like your gently used, saleable books. We will accept books for ANY age, young children through adults. You can drop off your books in the NYA Library or at the reception desks in the Lower and Middle Schools. Please contact Librarian Jill O’Connor with any questions.


Our Picture Retake Day with Coffee Pond Photography is scheduled for Wednesday, November 9 from 8:00-9:30 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room.


10/31 Chewonki Scales and Tails Campus Visit  8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
10/31 Halloween Costume Day and Parade  10:45 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
11/1 Conference Sign-Ups Close at end of Day
11/1 Last Chance to Sign Up for Child Care during Conference Time slots 5:00 p.m.
11/3 Parent-Teacher Conferences, 12:00-8:00 p.m. No School
11/4 Parent-Teacher Conferences, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. No School
11/4 Last Day to Sign Up for Thanksgiving Vacation Care
11/6 Middle and Upper School Open House 1:00-3:00 p.m.
11/9 Picture Retakes, MSCR 8:00-9:30 a.m.
11/11 Veterans’ Day No School
11/14 Dress Down Day for Preble Street Bring in non-perishable foods.
11/16 Lower School Drama presents Willy Wonka KIDS, Safford  2:30 p.m.
 11/18  Last Day of Classes before Thanksgiving Break
 11/19-11/27  Thanksgiving Break  No School
 11/28  Classes Resume
 12/1  Lower School Open House  4:00-5:30 p.m.
12/3 NYA Holiday Craft Fair, Curtis building 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.